Presently, Minnesota law limits lawsuits made against sexual assailants by victims to six years after they turn 18. A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers want to eliminate that time restriction.
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, and House Reps. Steve Simon, (DFL-St. Louis Park), and Sondra Erickson, (R-Princeton), made the announcement with child victim advocates during a press conference Wednesday.
The proposed bill would lift the statute of limitations entirely, which would allow adults who had been abused as children to file lawsuits at any time.
“Sen. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park, a bill sponsor, said adult victims of child abuse often take many years to fully recover or process what happened to them,” according to the Associated Press. He says the bill would hold institutions more accountable for employing abuse perpetrators.
Proponents of the bill made their case to lift the time limit based on the prevalence of people who now say they were abused as children.
“Minnesota’s first-ever child adverse events report, which was released last month, showed that 10 percent of adults in the state reported some form of sexual abuse in their childhoods,” reported the StarTribune.
It’s difficult to comprehend that there are opponents to lifting the statute of limitations on such cases.
The Catholic Church has fought similar efforts to abolish time limits, which have limited the number of criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits against alleged child abusers.
“The Catholic Church has successfully beaten back such proposals in many states, arguing that it is difficult to get reliable evidence when decades have passed and that the changes seem more aimed at bankrupting the church than easing the pain of victims,” The New York Times reported.
The Catholic Church has spent $2.5 billion in legal fees, settlements and prevention programs. “...it (the church) sees this as an open-ended and unfair exposure for accusations from the distant past.”
“Changing the statute of limitations ‘has turned out to be the primary front for child sex abuse victims,’ said Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who represents plaintiffs in sexual abuse suits.
The efforts of this bipartisan effort to lift the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse must not only gain the support of every state legislator, but every citizen of Minnesota.